Mountain Stage, the long-running roots music radio show hosted by Larry Groce, and now also offered on television, will travel to Bristol (TN/VA) to record shows in honor of Bristol’s status as “The Birthplace Of Country Music.” An organization by that name (Birthplace Of Country Music Alliance – BCMA) has been in operation in Bristol since 1994, and was successful in having that designation formally declared by the US Congress in 1994.
This theme was stressed in the press release issued by the Mountain Stage folks:
It will be 79 years ago on July 25 in a warehouse on State Street that the first recording kicked off what would be 12 days of sessions. These historic Bristol Sessions included local and regional musicians like the now legendary Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers plus perhaps the first inter-racial recording with African American El Watson and his partner Charles Johnson. The Bristol Sessions also became a crucial step in the beginning of what was to become RCA Victor Records.
Mountain Stage will be working with the local community putting together programs that reflect where country music has come from, its influences and some of the directions it is taking.
Two live stage shows will be taped July 22-23 at The Paramount Center in Bristol, and each is expected to generate one radio show, and two for television. The first show (7/22) has a folk music theme, with guests Darrell Scott and Ramblin” Jack Elliott, while the other features bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley and Tim O’Brien. Roni Stoneman will also appear on the July 22 show, and Yonder Mountain String band on the 23rd.
Mountain Stage is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and is normally recorded before a live audience in Charleston. The show is carried on more than 100 radio stations in the US, and is distributed by PRI. Support for the Bristol event is provided in part by the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail and the Virginia Tourism Corporation.
The radio programs recorded in Bristol are expected to run in September of 2006.